An East African woman finds her voice in a new play by Deborah Asiimwe, performed by the Powerhouse Apprentice Company and directed by Emily Mendelsohn. One performance only, July 4, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-The Powerhouse Apprentice Company will perform a new play, Untitled, by Deborah Assimwe, directed by Emily Mendelsohn, on Saturday, July 4. Free and open to the public, the performance will begin at 7pm in the Susan Stein Shiva Theater.

Untitled tells the story of Lake, a young East Africa writer, finding her voice in a patriarchal culture.  Without her family's blessing, Lake leaves her remote village and travels across the world to a California art school. She writers her own future, through her memories and explores her African heritage, both traditional and colonial.

Assimwe's play weaves together physical and metaphorical journeys along with African folklore, song and dance. 

Deborah Asiimwe is a Ugandan born playwright. Her recent production of Forgotten World, was directed by Obie Award-winning actress and director, Laurie Carlos, at California Institute of the Arts. Earlier this year, a reading of her play, Appointment with God, directed by Guillermo Aviles-Rodriguez, premiered at the Watts Village Theater Company. Cooking Oil, which looks at the role of humanitarian aid in Uganda, was part of the Eti! East Africa Speaks series at Dartmouth College following a workshop and performance at CalArts in 2008. Asiimwe holds an MFA in playwriting from CalArts. 

Emily Mendelsohn is a Los Angeles based director, teacher, and writer. At Powerhouse, she has directed Coriolanus, The Cherry Orchard, Iphigenia (adapted by Seth Bauer), and a series of devised works exploring memory and social justice.  In 2008, she staged Forged in Fire by Okello Kello Sam, Laura Edmonson, and Robert Ajwang as part of Eti! East Africa Speaks at Dartmouth College. She recently staged Carolyn Forche's Angel of History. Mendelsohn will be bringing part of this production to Centre by Centre, the first annual performance festival in Kigali, Rwanda this summer. She received her MFA in directing from CalArts.

More than 40 student apprentices from across the country and around the world participate in each summer season and form the Powerhouse Apprentice Company. These young artists-current students, recent graduates, and future theater professionals-are provided with a distinctive opportunity to create their own new work as well as work on the development of theatre and musical productions headed for Broadway and top-ranked theaters nation-wide. This educational experience is not replicated anywhere else in the country. Some of the program alumnae/i include Erin Buckley, Katherine Kovner, Melissa Errico, Amy Fox, Catherine Kellner, Kate MacCluggage, Josh Radnor, Leah Ryan, Alexandra Tolk, and Jonathan Togo. The Powerhouse Apprentice Program is supported, in part, by the Ruth and Louis Baker Family Foundation, Dyson Foundation, Millman Harris Romano Foundation, and TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation.

The Powerhouse Apprentice Company will present free performances of Euripides' The Trojan Women (directed by Dennis Reid - 7/10-13) and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (directed by Anthony Luciano - 7/17-20) and The Taming of the Shrew (directed by Brian McManamon - 7/24-27). All performances will be held at 6pm at the Outdoor Amphitheater on the Vassar campus.

In 2007, these Powerhouse Apprentice Company performances were named the "Best Way to Introduce Kids to the Classics," by Hudson Valley Magazine, in their annual "Best of the Hudson Valley" issue.

On consecutive Thursday evenings in July, during "Late Night at the Lehman Loeb," members of the Powerhouse Apprentice Company will present a unique "soundpainted ballet," Dances at an Exhibition (directed by Mark Lindberg), inspired by art on exhibition at the college's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (July 9, 16, 23 at 6pm).

In addition, the Powerhouse Apprentice Company will offer a special presentation of the musical comedy Hello! My Baby, by Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writer Cheri Steinkellner, with new music and arrangements by Jeff Rizzo in the Martel Theater (August 1, 5pm). 


Join the Powerhouse Theater community and become among the first to see a new play or musical performed, often before it goes on to a larger venue, on or off-Broadway, or in theaters across the country. 

The Powerhouse Mainstage productions this season will feature Joanna Murray-Smith's Ninety, directed by Maria Mileaf and featuring Sarita Choudhury and Kevin Kilner (June 30 - July 12); there will be a special musical presentation of The Burnt Part Boys (7/17-26); and Hudson Valley native and HBO's In Treatment writer Keith Bunin's Vera Laughed, directed by Carolyn Cantor (July 22 - August 2) - all tickets $35.

All tickets to the Martel Musicals are $25. Performances and seating is limited for the concert readings of Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow's Whisper House, directed by Keith Powell (July 10, 11) and Anton Dudley, Charlie Sohne, and Brian Feinstein's Tina Girlstar, directed by Jeremy Dobrish (7/31 - 8/1).

All performances for comedian Lewis Black's comedy Slight Hitch, directed by Joe Grifasi, have already sold-out, however limited tickets for Ben Snyder's urban fairy tale Shoe Story, directed by Tony Award-winner Thomas Kail, are still available (July 23 - July 25) - all tickets for the Inside Look series are $20.

The second free Readings Festivals will close the season and will include new plays by Andrew Dolan, Beth Henley, Dan Moran, John Patrick Shanley, and Regina Taylor. Seating is extremely limited and reservations are strongly recommended for this free series.

Mainstage subscriptions ($89.25) offer admission to any performance of the three Mainstage shows (Ninety, The Burnt Part Boys, and Ninety) and all nine readings at 15% off single ticket prices.

On Friday and Saturday evenings catch great fresh food on the way to the theater with Powerhouse Summer Suppers prepared by a rotating selection of Arlington's restaurants at Café on the Quad from 5:30pm to 8pm [The Dubliner - July 3; Zorona Restaurant - July 10, 11; Beech Tree Grill & Bittersweet - July 17, 18; Twisted Soul - July 24, 25; Babycakes Cafe - July 31, Aug 1]. Wine and beer will be offered (no reservations necessary). "Hudson Valley Mediterranean" flavors will be presented by Gigi Hudson Valley at the Alumnae House starting at 6pm on 7/10-11, 7/17-18, 7/24-25, 7/31-8/1 (reservation requests: (914) 388-7175). Seventeen Arlington restaurants will offer Powerhouse ticket holders who present their ticket stubs a discount for pre- or post- theater meal or dessert.

Season after season Powerhouse audiences have had the chance to be a witness to the creative process and development of award-winning works through artistically exceptional and affordably priced performances, including John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (four Tony Awards including Best Play and Pulitzer for Drama), Warren Leight's Side Man (two Tony Awards including Best Play and Pulitzer nominee), and Jay Presson Allen's Tru (Tony Award for Best Actor).

Last summer Opera News described Powerhouse as "a safe haven for plays to be nurtured before they make their way into the world, an incubator where writers can work on the development of a show without commercial and critical pressures, far from the ka-ching of Broadway." 

This year, continuing its mission of presenting artistically exceptional and affordably priced performances, Powerhouse Theater will offer a $5 student rush ticket for students 25 years and under [as available 15 minutes before curtain].

To purchase tickets, go online to, call (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599, or visit the Box Office on the Vassar campus.

Vassar is sited in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY. Go to for directions to the Vassar campus.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, July 1, 2009